June 7, 2019
There have been many people that have pursued great knowledge and wisdom about God through the abundant teaching resources available all over the world. Those who were zealous for God sought to fill their minds with the words of scripture, theologians, and various commentaries. Many undertake the ministry of apologetics, studying the points of contrary religions and arguing against them. Many people have spent many hours trying to refine their knowledge and gain more of it so as to adequately speak about the truth of God’s greatness and glory according to the Gospel. These people have been noble in their service unto the Lord, but the Bible itself shows that our witness doesn’t have to be so complicated. How much do we have to know about “apologetics” to defend our faith? How much “theology” should we study in order to speak truthfully about God? How much “science” do we need to be acquainted with in order to prove the Bible as fact? How much scripture should we commit to memory before we begin opening our mouths about the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Sometimes ministry leaders can set an unfair standard for those who look up to them. While it is good to know the differences between Christianity and other religions, that knowledge won’t save people – Jesus does. While it is good to know technical terms about God, grammatical concepts of the Bible, and the original language, that knowledge won’t save people – Jesus does. While it is good to know how the scientific principles and truths of our world help explain certain truths of scripture, that knowledge doesn’t save people – Jesus does. Of course, it is good to memorize scripture and have the ability to recall verses in normal conversation, but that knowledge doesn’t save people – Jesus does.
The testimony of the Book of Job shows how God Himself spoke for Himself. Is there a better way to speak of God? Is there a better standard to follow than God’s own standard? In Job 37:4-7, Jesus Himself addressed Job in a powerful way, which ultimately led Job to repent of His sin and receive the restoration of God. Since the goal of God’s people should be to encourage repentance by faith in order to receive God’s spiritual restoration in Jesus, it is important to pay attention to the manner in which God spoke to achieve these results. When Job was wrong and struggling in his faith, what did God say to correct his heart, his mind, and his soul?
God didn’t speak about theology as from the standpoint of an educated theologian. God didn’t speak apologetics to defend Himself. God didn’t leverage human understanding in the sciences to validate Himself. God didn’t even quote previously written scripture. Instead, the testimony of Job 37:4-7 shows that God just asked some rhetorical questions that helped Job reset his thinking. The first question God asked was:
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”
Notice the simplicity of the question, but the magnitude of impact that it has when answered truthfully. According to the Bible, God laid the “foundations” of the earth in Genesis Chapter 1. When speaking of the “foundations” of the earth itself, it can be interpreted several ways. Was God referring to the literal foundation of the earth, in terms of the land that we walk on? If so, God did this work on the third day of His creation – three days before He formed a single person. If God was referring to the foundation of the atmosphere, providing a suitable space for the land to be formed in, then God might have been speaking of the moment when He divided the “waters from the waters” on day two of His creation. This was four days before He formed people. Even if God were speaking about the work God did to complete a suitable living environment on earth, after the creation of the sun, moon, stars, and fruitful vegetation. Even still, these things were created on the fourth and fifth days of God’s work. Adam wasn’t formed until the second half of God’s work on day six.
The point is, no one was around when God laid the “foundations” of the world. God didn’t need help. He didn’t need witnesses. He didn’t need validation. He didn’t need counsel. When Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, they had everything they needed in order to live according to God’s perfect purposes because God was wise and able to provide. Notice God’s emphasis on the “foundations” of the earth. The chronology of the Bible dates the earth to be a little over 8,000 years old. Yet, God came before this time since He was already in existence to lay the foundation of earth. When we look at the world and the elements of it that look “old,” we must always understand that God came first. Even for those who believe that the universe is hundreds of millions of years old, God still must come first, clearly validating His eternal nature.
This is God’s point. When the righteousness and justice of God are questioned by people with wavering faith, God reminded Job of the basics. He is eternal in nature. Where were we when God was doing the simplest things in His work to lay the mere “foundation” of it? How long did it take us to recognize the scope of the planet, and even still, discoveries are made? Still, God came long before all of it, and the complex things of this world, are the basic foundations and beginnings of God’s work in our world. He is not just eternal in nature, but eternally wise and powerful. God had been doing what He’d been doing long before Job was born. God had been doing what He’d been doing long before Adam was formed. Since God is the eternal Creator of all things, is it even possible to question God’s righteousness and justice? Is it proper to question the Potter, the manner in which He molds His clay, and His purpose for it? Who do we think we are to question, doubt, and criticize the One who came before ALL things? God actually gave Job a moment to try and answer that question. After explaining the basis of His eternal wisdom and power as the Creator, God said, “Tell Me if you have understanding.” Though Job previously boasted that he would speak rightly to God if given the chance, Job remained silent when the chance was given.
God then asked two more questions:
“Who determined its measurements?” “Or who stretched the line upon it?”
When building anything, it is important to measure, and then ensure that the building takes place according to those measurements with accuracy. Depending on the scope of work, this can be easier said, than done. These days, builders rely heavily on complex equations, systems, and various tools to aid in the accuracy of measuring and erecting. God didn’t need any of that to build something as massive as our planet AND all of the functioning systems that sustain life on it! God’s question is not a complicated one. Who determined the size of our planet? Here, God explains two principles. First, that the dimensions of our planet are reflective of an intelligent and wise designer. Our planet was not brought into existence by a series of accidental and random events. Our planet was measured out, and that measurement was determined by someone with the greatest wisdom ever known.
Where was Job when this work took place? Who was around to criticize the measurements that God determined? Did someone else bring blueprints to God that rivaled His own? Is our version of Earth a revised version because of God’s errors the first time? Do we live in Earth 2.0? Our planet is the perfect size and scope to sustain life according to God’s predetermined purposes. He not only had an idea, but knew how to make that idea manifest. This idea wasn’t about creative illustrations or entertainment. The scope of God’s creative work on Earth involves thousands of years of human life and history, all working together for the manifestation of the Son of God in full glory according to the Gospel! God didn’t need help or counsel to know the perfect size for our world. He didn’t need to get permits for His measurements. God knew what was right and no one was able to contend. How then can we contend with Him about what is right and wrong in our lives? How then can we complain and argue about God’s justice and goodness? Has not the functionality of our planet shown that God knows what He’s doing, and doesn’t need our opinions to help Him along?
Not only did God determine the measurements of the world, but also laid out the measuring line to execute His ideas to perfection. Sometimes measuring can be difficult based on the tools or ability we have to do so. Sometimes measuring can be hard because we don’t have the right tool or equipment. How accurately can we measure a quart if we don’t have a measuring cup? How accurately can we measure 17 inches if we don’t have measuring tape? How accurately can we measure 12.6 miles if our measuring tool is too small? Sometimes measuring 6 feet can be hard if we don’t have the help of someone to hold the other side of our tape. God didn’t have any of these problems. Science tells us that the circumference of Earth is 29,901 miles. Based on the question that God asked Job, He was easily able to measure this distance out! He didn’t need a tool like a measuring tape or GPS. God didn’t need help. Can you imagine God with a long measuring tape asking someone else to stand on the other side of the planet to hold the tape while He makes a mark? The idea is so foolish that it become funny.
So then, why do we question God’s work? Why do we question God’s ability? Has God not already proven Himself wise AND able? Can we stretch out our hand 29,000 miles to ensure our vision for a planet is executed correctly? We know how ridiculous these ideas sound, but when we look at the testimony of Job, we see how easy it is to think more highly of ourselves, forgetting who God really is. God not only came long before us, garnering the privilege to determine right and wrong, but has emphatically proved that His righteousness is supremely wise, power, and ultimately good.
God asked one more question:
“To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
Here, God revealed a terrifying truth about our existence on Earth. What is the foundation of our planet fastened to? Nothing! Our planet floats in space, or so it seems. God’s point was that we cannot see the foundation for which our planet sits on. Yet, our planet is perfectly in line, not deviating from the foundation which sustains life according to God’s purposes. Can we say this of the other planets? The point here is that God doesn’t need to reveal a foundation to show that His foundation is secure. If our planet is only 8 days old, wouldn’t it still be a miracle that God could hold such a massive structure in place for so long? The scriptures teach that Jesus is the Rock of our salvation, our Strong Tower, our Sure Foundation. Does it matter that we can’t see Him now? Did it matter that Job couldn’t see God at the time of His suffering? Did it matter that God didn’t “feel” close to Job when Job was sad? Do we need to “feel” close to earth in order to be certain our feet will stay on the ground when we walk? Do we need to see the hand of God holding our planet in place to trust that Earth will rotate as it has since the beginning? Has God not done enough to prove His faithfulness to us?
God laid the cornerstone of earth – the chief stone that holds it all together. This is not to say that there is one rock in our planet that keeps everything locked in place. This is speaking to the power of God. If there was such a rock, how big would it have to be in order to keep Earth fixed in its position and condition? Who but God could move that rock? The point is, God is supremely powerful and intimately involved in His creation. He not only designed our planet and made it functional, but holds it all together. In Him the worlds were created, and in Him they consist. The worlds were framed by Him; things that are seen made by that which is not seen. Do we really think that gravity alone is responsible for the endurance our planet has demonstrated? If not for the sovereign hand of God keeping things together, they wouldn’t be. If God is able to hold it all together to that degree, how much more our issues? Yet we doubt…
God finishes this part of His discourse by reminding Job that, not only was His work wonderful and supremely glorious, but all of the angels in heaven rejoiced and praised God for His superior goodness, but Job wasn’t a part of that. None of us were. God has been receiving praise from those who understand His greatness for a long time – long before we as people came into existence. God doesn’t need us to validate Him. Therefore, He is willing to do whatever is right in His eyes to deal with our attitudes. God has been receiving praise and worship since the beginning, and none of us were required to contribute to it. Therefore, it is a privilege to know the things that God reveals in order to praise Him too. Yet, so often we are caught up in the difficulties of our issues, that we become distracted from the truth. See, when God needed to remind Job of the truth, He didn’t exhaust Himself with fancy rhetoric or intellectual discourses. God kept things simple. He went back to the basics and fundamental things about who He is. When our minds wander off and provoke bad attitude, and we too need to see the truth, we only need to remember the simple and basic things of who God is as He was in the beginning and continues to be. That is sufficient in it of itself.